Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders has erased Hillary Clinton’s lead in the Golden State, according to the latest poll of the California Democratic primary. The results, which are in stark contrast to another recent survey showing Mrs. Clinton leading Sen. Sanders by double-digits, finds the former secretary of state with a statistically insignificant 2-point lead.
The new PPIC Poll survey conducted from May 13 to May 22 showed Mrs. Clinton polling at 46% to 44% for Sen. Sanders, who has been campaigning hard in state. The Sanders campaign has been confident they would win the Golden State, where Mrs. Clinton was expected to win big. She leads the self-described socialist by 6.7 percentage points on the PPD average of California Democratic primary polls.
That is a far smaller margin than the 57% to 39% lead in the SurveyUSA Poll, though primary polling in the state has been known to be volatile. In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama led on the average of polls by a little more than 1 point, though Mrs. Clinton won by 9.6%.
|Final Results||—||—||42.3||51.9||Clinton +9.6|
|PPD Average||02/01 – 02/04||—||44.0||42.8||Obama +1.2|
|SurveyUSA||02/03 – 02/04||872 LV||42||52||Clinton +10.0|
|Reuters/CSpan/Zogby||02/03 – 02/04||895 LV||49||36||Obama +13.0|
|SurveyUSA||02/02 – 02/03||853 LV||41||53||Clinton +12.0|
|Reuters/CSpan/Zogby||02/01 – 02/03||967 LV||46||40||Obama +6.0|
|Suffolk||02/01 – 02/03||700 LV||40||39||Obama +1.0|
|Rasmussen||02/02 – 02/02||798 LV||45||44||Obama +1.0|
|Reuters/CSpan/Zogby||01/31 – 02/02||1141 LV||45||41||Obama +4.0|
|Mason-Dixon||01/30 – 02/01||400 LV||36||45||Clinton +9.0|
|Field||01/25 – 02/01||511 LV||34||36||Clinton +2.0|
|Rasmussen||01/29 – 01/29||807 LV||40||43||Clinton +3.0|
|SurveyUSA||01/27 – 01/27||888 LV||38||49||Clinton +11.0|
|Politico/CNN/LAT||01/23 – 01/27||690 LV||32||49||Clinton +17.0|
|USA Today/Gallup||01/23 – 01/26||779 HT||35||47||Clinton +12.0|
|Field||01/14 – 01/20||377 LV||27||39||Clinton +12.0|
|PPIC||01/13 – 01/20||543 LV||28||43||Clinton +15.0|
Worth noting, again, both SurveyUSA and PPIC polled the race more accurately when many pollsters were likely guilty of mirroring, or the practice of pollsters essentially copying other pollsters’ results. While the former was more accurate, nearly pegging Mrs. Clinton’s margin exactly, the final survey by PPIC was conducted more than a week before the primary and was still relatively close.
Also worth noting, the PPIC survey has been relatively stable, with Sen. Sanders nipping at the frontrunner’s heels.
“We haven’t seen much change over time in our polling results among California’s Democratic Presidential Primary likely voters,” PPIC pollster Mark Baldassare said. “In the March PPIC Survey, 48% supported Clinton and 41% supported Sanders. In the May PPIC Survey, 46% supported Clinton and 44% supported Sanders.”
Still, while both the polls can be construed as good news for Mrs. Clinton in the short-term–though not if it’s indicative of a trend–they also demonstrate her general election weakness against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. The PPIC Poll finds Mrs. Clinton is only ahead of Mr. Trump 49% to 39%, while found a larger but still-weak 52% to 38%. These are very poor showings for a Democratic presidential candidate in a state a Republican hasn’t carried on the presidential level since the 1980s.
There are a total 548 delegates up for grabs in the California Democratic primary, including 317 in the congressional districts. Another 105 are at large, 53 are Pledged PLEOs and 73 Unpledged PLEOs.
“This may be the end of the road for the Sanders campaign,” said PPD’s senior political analyst Richard D. Baris. “They don’t believe these numbers and actually feel that they have a good shot to defeat Mrs. Clinton in the Golden State. It wouldn’t be the first primary this cycle where the polling was grossly off.”
“But if it’s the end of a longer-than-anticipated road for Bernie, it looks like the beginning of a tough road for Mrs. Clinton.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is still above water, with 50% approving and 39% disapproving of the job he is going. Those who disapprove include 67% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 20% of Democrats, with the latter groups breaking big for Donald Trump in a general election.
Findings are based on a survey of 1,704 California adult residents, with 50 percent interviewed on landline telephones (853 interviews) and 50 percent
interviewed on cell phones (851 interviews). Interviews took an average of 19 minutes to complete. Interviewing took place on weekend days and
weekday nights May 13–22, 2016.